FARMINGTON —Tommy Bolack began hosting a Fourth of July firework display about two dozen years ago at B-Square Ranch when dry conditions prompted fireworks restrictions.

He said he was concerned about children in alleys shooting off fireworks and wanted to give the community more opportunities to safely enjoy fireworks.

While Bolack said it is the driest he has seen this area in 40 years, he will shoot off hundreds of fireworks during the annual Fourth of July display.

“It’s kind of grown into a tradition,” Bolack said.

He said he has done fire mitigation on the mesa where he will shoot off the fireworks. The area is already fairly barren, with a few shrubs and small piñons and junipers.

Bolack makes many of the fireworks himself and adds various salts to enhance colors.

This year’s display will include shapes like smiley faces and hearts.

He is also adding a new feature — a pink strobe.

“I don’t know how it’s going to look for sure, but we’ll find out,” he said.


Fireworks are basically big chemistry experiments in the sky. USA TODAY

The Farmington resident is a self-taught pyrotechnician. He said he learned about fireworks from books and experimentation.

“As a kid, I used to get the biggest stuff you could get at the fireworks stand,” he said.

He said he would string the fireworks together when he was a child.

“As you get a little older, your toys get a little bigger,” Bolack said.

He said his interest in fireworks and explosives prompted him to obtain his federal class B fireworks license.


USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham offers tips on how to shoot great fireworks shots with your smartphones. just in time for July 4th. By Sean Fujiwara

Bolack said his show lasts about twice as long as Farmington’s July 3 display, and will include larger fireworks.

The best areas for viewing are in south Farmington along U.S. Highway 64.

“Those people over there in Valley Grand subdivision have a front row seat,” he said.

Bolack said people who go to McGee Park to shoot off their own fireworks will also have a good view of his display.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at


Read or Share this story: